Retail distance therapy

Grandpa is coming to town! He'll be here in two week so that means I've gotta buy everything we want from the US quick.
So far I've got:
- new bag/lunch cooler (hot season demands a decent insulated lunch box in these parts)
- a swim float (freedom in the pool) and a new swim suit (see previous post for justification on that)
- clothes. big surprise. for Nava only (surprise slightly)
- books to further my parenting PhD
- books for storytime
- flashcards
- medicinal stuff (ugh)
- new bottles (as per the speech doc)
- a wi-fi camera memory card (just cause it's COOL)

Still debating:
- more clothes (for me but thinking I'll just wait and go shopping on future trip)
- Kindle (I think I'd use it!)
- Video camera (Just a cheap one but would be fun)

Need recommendations for:
- Toys
- Nava books
- other cool stuff

Now I've gotta go home and look in the big bag of clothes Nava hasn't grown into yet to see if she really needs anymore. In the meantime, lets all take a moment to pity the poor mailman...

This is just for Nava's Gma Maritom (my godmother). He loves his present ;)
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Weekend recap III

And back to the weekend.
Daddy came home at 5pm Friday after 10 days away so bonding time was in order. And after ava went to bed on Friday night (and when Mommy and Daddy were off dinner and dancing) Grandma came to visit, along with two Aunties. So it was a unexpected full house this weekend, after a very quiet week.

Hot season is coming on strong in Vientiane. So we hit the pool:

I dare you to look at this picture and not break out into a grin. See! Can't be done.

Someone has just about grown out of her swimsuit!

We did hit the organic market before the pool so their was cooking to do. Broccoli, pumpkin, herbs, carrot, eggplant, you name it, its in the fridge. On Saturday Nava seemed way more hungry that usual and the next day she swiped some fresh steamed broccoli before I even had a chance to puree it (GO veggie eater!). She's also been chewing on her fingers so it seems her teeth are up to something. To prove the point, I gave her one of the no sugar, absolutely cardboard taste teething biscuits that she normally sniffs and throws away. She loved it. Gnawed on it until it was all crumbs. Those gums must ache :(

That's grandma there in the middle. Nava was making funny faces for her.
On Sunday I ran into a friend at the minimart who had driven into town specifically to look at the pancake mix box--she;d thrown hers away and had no idea what to put. Ha! Not like I've ever done that... But despite my laughing at her she was nice enough to invite us over to brunch. So while Daddy was out merit making with his mom, I strapped a crabby (teeth! grr!) Nava into the Ergo and walked to the Mekong. Its 20 minutes at a mild, talk-to-grandpa-on-the-phone-the-whole-way pace. Definitely a walk we need to do more often, even if it did leave mommy with bloody ankles (blisters, yuck!).


hearts and ears

Nava had a unique first Valentines Day. At the ENT doc's office. Nothing says love like getting your ear wax removed right? Don't answer that.

Mission: the confirm Nava's hearing is OK. Seems simple enough but it's been a loooooong story. Nava flunked her newborn hearing screen so we tried again at 19 days old. No one told us she had to be asleep for it but when we arrived and were told to make her sleep we didn't think it would be that hard. She was a newborn that rarely went longer than an hour without sleep. So we wrapped her up burrito style and I nursed her and we waited. and waited. and waited. About three and a half hours later everyone had nodded off but Nava and the audiologist told us one ear good, other ear, who knows.

Later in Eugene, we got in for a hearing screen, but that mostly gauged hearing by how well the kid looks at the toy they light up and at that point Nava had only been seeing for a few weeks (post cataract surgery).

So, Bangkok, Valentine's 2011 was the date to get that box finally checked. But Mommy confused the appointment time and only realized we were late in the elevator up from our fabulous hotel breakfast. I called the clinic and they said we could come anyways so I packed toys and snacks expecting a long wait and off we went.

We arrived and Mommy did a little photo shoot to pass the time. Thank you to Gma and Grandpa for the super cute valentine's outfit!! Even the ENT doc loved it.

After not too long of a wait, we got in. The excellent doc reviewed Nava's file, told me which tests were needed and cautioned if she wouldn't sleep, we'd have to come back later and put her under anesthesia. But this time, baby fate was on our side. Nava still hadn't had her morning nap, it was 11 am and she wanted milk. Surely we could pull this off, right?

And we did. I sat holding and nursing Nava til she was out and then a nurse and I silently did the dance of applying wires and putting in ear probes. And we sat in the little dark padded room for 2+ hours until the test was done. Well, actually the nurses tag teamed and got up and had lunch. I, on the other hand, sat perfectly still and silent, ignoring my bladder and aching butt, praying my cell phone in my pocket wouldn't ring. After about 15 minutes I'd deciphered the exam results screen and stared at it willing the graphs to grow and match up and the lights to go from red to yellow to green.

And this time, Nava slept.

And what's even better, her hearing is fine.

Best. Valentine. Ever.

Baby Speech?

Actually, before we went to the eye hospital, Nava and I had already been up to another medical visit. We went to see a speech therapist who specializes in oral-motor therapy. No, Nava doesn't talk yet and no, I don't expect her to. The visit was really about feeding and jaw strength. In order for Nava to chew properly and (later) speak clearly she needs a strong jaw, a tongue that lives in the back of her mouth, and lips that she can pucker up. DS means those skills can be weak or late coming so we were look for tips on how to best help her develop.

I've read a ton on this but really wanted to talk through it in person with someone. So much less nerve-wracking that way. it was nice to hear that Nava is actually doing really well (yeah, everyone says it but mommy never gets tired of hearing it). Turns out all that blueberry chomping is paying off. Nava really liked her session too, for a number of reasons.

1st-The whole visit took place on the floor.
Way cooler than sitting at a desk on mommy's lap or being poked and prodded on a bed like at other visits.

2nd-It was catered.
We were told to bring a liquid, puree and a solid so her current technique to be observed. Nava had no problems eating on demand--especially the fajita chicken leftover's mommy packed.

3rd-Cool toys were involved.
Nava absolutely loved the duck that lit up, swam around, flapped its wings, quacked and (get this!) laid eggs. Chinese toys rule! And what does the duck have to do with oral strength? Nothing. It's just cool.

It was a great visit and we came home with recommendations for a new kind of bottle, a new spoon, a chew toy, and some homework. We also came home with our very own Chinese quack machine. Somehow I don't remember coming home with new toys from the doctors office...what a lucky duck ;)


Eye is for Intense

We spent the weekend in Bangkok so for once, I won't be posting about farmer's markets and paddling pools.
In 48 hours we saw a speech therapist, eye doctor, and an ENT doc for Nava's ears. Phew.

Nava's eyes (specifically her double cataracts, their removal, and the contacts) are to date, the only significant  medical problems she has a result of the DS. Compared to having heart defects and feeding tubes that many parents have to deal with, I feel like we really dodged a bullet with "just" cataracts. But that doesn't mean their not a big deal--it's her eyes!--so I was a little anxious for her check up, 3 months after saying bye to her fabulous Dr in Portland.

We went to Rutnin Eye Hospital, as it was highly recommended. As instructed I arrived 30 min early to register. Registration took 3 min. There are a lot of medical tourists from the middle east at Rutnin (like many Thai hospitals) and next to us in the waiting room was what looked like 3 generations of a family from the UAE, grandma in an abaya from head to toe with a metal burka, grandpa wearing a keffiyeh and in all white. They were all smiling over Nava and Dad asked to hold her and she seemed okay with it. She giggled when he bounced her and was all smiles until he said something in a very deep (lovely!) voice. The she realized she DID NOT know him and screamed bloody murder. Cue the embarressed smiles all around as I comfort a pissed off Nava.

It was 70 min before we actually saw the doc however. Mommy was not impressed. Also, didn't hit it off with him as he suggested general anesthesia to do a basic eye health and prescription check. But he agreed to try without. The nurses had never seen an infant in contracts. They were amazed by me taking them out. Cue more waiting.

Once back in with the doc, a few things happened. While three women held Nava and the doc climbed on the bed to shine light in her eyes from above, I realized eye exams aren't the most graceful of maneuvers. Also, pediatric ophamologists have the world's most annoying toys. The louder and brighter the thing can spin and talk and play music the better when you're trying to get a disgruntled baby to look where you want. I ended up having to take her contacts in and out 4 times. The nurses were amazed. The doctor looked on impressed and said, "There's no way Thai parents could do that" (which is BS, but I digress).

It was clear that her contacts were really out of his comfort zone and that was probably what was causing the friction between us. He couldn't get a read on her prescription and was getting flustered. Then the Ah-Ha moment happened and he started looking with much lower lenses. Sure enough, her eyes have changed *that* much. After her surgery, her doc thought she'd wear +23 to +29 and was surprised to find she needed +20. 2 weeks after that she needed +19. 3 months after that and...now its more like +12!

As he was looking into her eyes, he actually drew in his breath in surprise (cue mommy's heart stopping). He was speechless from how beautifully done her surgery was! Cue mommy beaming with pride about the decision to have the surgery with Dr Wheeler in Portland.

They don't do contacts in Thailand (a key reason we decided on the US for surgery) so I negotiated him to write up his findings and I'm going to send them to her US eye doc and see if he can figure out the right prescription for us based on that. I've still gotta do research in the implications for this rapid change but I'm just glad it's in the right direction.

As I was leaving (3.5 hours later!), he said to me, "you realize she's going to have to have eye muscle surgery in the future right?". I said I did. His parting words were, "She's very lucky to have you as a mother."

We went straight from his office to a bangkok mexican place and mommy ordered a pitcher of margaritas and one glass, thank you.


baby buddies

Our playgroup met at our place yesterday, giving Soutchai a chance to show off the newly improved backyard he slaved over all weekend. We didn't end up actually doing the fish barbecue we'd envisaged but it was great fun nonetheless.


I so wish I could pull off a diaper on my head and a green and orange owl top...
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crawling track

So there's this theory about child development that says you can help babies learn to crawl with a crawling track. Basically an upholstered troth, to make it sound ugly. And since we live in the land of cheap Vietnamese upholstery artists, we thought, Why Not?

Auntie Lara cheered between beer gulps

pukies in the night

Nava loves flying upside down to the count of 3
Really don't know why but Nava woke up in the middle of the night to toss her cookies. Repeatedly. She was pretty calm about it and was acting happy as it stopped, though by the second round she was getting a little annoyed. Yay for Daddy being home on roster break for this one. Thus I was the one parent that didn't get puked on. Yay oh yay oh yay.

Oh and Auntie Emma came through with photos of Sunday morning on her blog. Check it out. And no, the puking was not a result of this maneuver.


weekend recap II

Kayden teaching Nava how to keep parents on their toes
 We hung out at home this weekend (didn't leave the house myself until Sunday night) and we had a great time thanks to Daddy being home and friends that come to visit. Saturday morning turned out lovely thanks to Kayden's mum deciding to come over for a playdate. We played inside, outside, upstairs, downstairs. 

Phew, that boy has got energy. 
Our winter continues but is beginning to fade. We're currently in the no fan, no air but can go to the pool stage. Gotta make the most of being able to be in the sun without sweating so once again, naked children in a paddling pool ensued. 

There was a hazmat episode not so long after this
Nava expresses her opinion about ball redistribution

And you see all that grass-like green stuff in the backyard?  Well, it disappeared right after the photo shoot concluded. By Sunday, there was none left thanks to Dad's home improvements. And speaking of Sunday, Nava got a visit from Aunties Emma and Lara (and Auntie Em has promised to share pics. Right!??). 

No farmers market run since the fridge was still full from last week (having Nava on my own somehow meant little cooking was accomplished. Shock). I did bake sweet potatoes (which were partly purple. Purple!). And make a huge pan of zuccini & tomato that I did in the oven this time (way less work). I also made us grownup ladies a veggie curry from all that never-ending pile of veg in the bottom of the fridge that (there's still more. must. cook.) 

We continued our weekend pancake tradition and Nava's self-feeding continues to improve. She seems to have dropped the hungry-hippo manuver completely. She's also much more likely to actually get the food in her mouth rather than just kind of lift it to in front of her mouth and wonder why it doesn't go in. She liked the sweet potatoes (as did I, mmmmm) but when the tomato/zuc went head to head against the potatoes, she ended up spitting out the potatoes and shooting out her arms up to pry the tom-zuc outta my hands (Nava, I get it, you want mommy to eat the sweet potatoes for you. No problem).


just had to share

This is soooo cool. Go read now.

(and no, I can't believe i just published a link to Sports Illustrated...)



Just when it seemed I'd never remember to get the camera out outside the kitchen table area... I give you, Nava in the bath. She went through a brief phase of hating baths and then it got really cold here (don't laugh!) so baths went off the radar for a while. We made do with sponge baths and wet washcloths.

After her paddling pool joy this weekend, baths are back. And in a big way! 2 months ago she was tentative in the bath. Now she splashes with all her might and has a great time.

You can't see in in these pics but she's playing with her rubber ducky. Well, duckies actually, a mommy and a baby. Awwww!
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mommy & me weekend

We had a mommy and me weekend. Dad was at the dam and the cousins were at a wedding so it was just us two. We had a great time.

Saturday was busy. First to the farmers market for organics (broccoli, baby carrots, zucs, chili, and then I ran out of money). We crashed some girlfriends having a lovely french cafe brunch and then Nava graciously helped mommy get a pedicure (hard work), and then on to her buddy's first birthday party (that's us in 2 months! ack!). The party was great-i think Nava enjoyed getting naked in the paddling pool with all her baby group friends best. That or making me let her drink my entire glass of soda water.

Nava slept thorough the night for the first time in a month on Friday so I had so much extra energy Saturday night that I stayed up late rearranging the house. I finally took the bassinet out of the playyard so she's sleeping like a big girl now. I added more foam squares to her play area in the living room so her territory has gone up about, oh, 400%. I made an official nap area for her in the guest/grandpa bedroom and arranged her stuffed animals in there-they were taking over the couch! And I found a make do solution to the lack of a high chair cover.

Sunday was so much fun. First we had pancakes, in our high chair, sitting at the table rather than on it, like we (well some of us) usually do. She is getting really good at picking up food and putting it in her mouth but occasionally wants to be lazy and try the hungry-hippos-game approach to mouth only food collection still. Here's her making the decision of how to get the next bite...

When the sun came out I put her christmas paddling pool out in the backyard, filled it with warm water and in she went. So kinda like this
but outside, with water, and no clothes.

We had long cuddles, nursing cuddles, and talked to Grandpa in America. We used our new crawling track (post on that later). The we went out for pizza. Yes, Nava had pizza for dinner. And we so love Swedish Pizza House for having a proper high chair! An Ikea one actually. Nava loved having dinner with mommy and did a fair bit of damage to the crusts and some cheese. By the time we got home at 6:15 she was dead asleep, didn't wake when put in her napping bed, didn't wake to the neighbors' incredibly loud party, and didn't even wake when I finally took her upstairs and put her to bed for the night. Pizza, the new night feed!

talking about me again!?!

and in other news

I've been using my words in other places, discussing doulas & disability & down syndrome. And then opening my blog reader to find related discussions, inc one that excerpted me. I'm very in right now, what can I say?

http://banned-from-baby-showers.blogspot.com/2011/01/part-1-mothers-story-exclusive-pumping.html http://downsyndromepregnancy.org/

And in very cool news, I've been asked by a new-mom-to-be here to do a childbirth education session for her and her partner. So exciting! 
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